“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” –  Lao Tzu

Photo by Somya Dinkar on Pexels.com

The birds are leaving for winter places
on this, my birthday. I’m staying here.
The seasons are changing. So will I.
I don’t know my destination or if
I will return here. So it is.

The Thing with Feathers

The bird who has built its nest
recently in the drainpipe is either optimistic
or foolish. Lately, I feel like optimism
is foolish in these darkly troubling times.
Maybe optimism is the thing with feathers.

bird pipe

The title and final line here is a nod to Emily Dickinson’s poem in which the thing with feathers is hope.

Meditation on Birdsongs


Black-capped_Chickadee at a suet feeder

The welcoming sunlight forced my eyes closed – 
into meditation mode: white-throated sparrow’s simple notes
of three/four; harsh jay’s single screech bu
no Barred Owl’s “Who cooks for you.”
Sets of three-noted refrains – Black-capped Chickadees feeding.


I have been trying in recent years to be able to identify some common avian visitors to my neighborhood by their songs. “Songs” may seem grandiose for some of these simple notes. I suspect they are melodic sentences, though they do seem to repeat a chorus or refrain. You can hear these songs at allaboutbirds.org. Perhaps, some birds write haiku, while others prefer free verse or their own kind of villanelles.

Murmurations of Grace

October starlings flocking in swooping, harmonious groups.

Thousands of birds in murmurations above me.

Communicating at a higher level than me.

I will never swirl in the air

or on Earth with such innate grace.


If you’re curious about the wonder or the science of murmurations, I have written elsewhere about those aspects.